Before I share this guest post, I feel that Elizabeth Boomhouwer deserves a formal introduction. For anyone who has yet to have the privilege to meet or know her; She's one part small and mighty, two parts caregiver (as in take care of anyone and everyone who potentially needs help), three parts savvy businesswoman, and a sprinkle of "didn't see that coming" just to keep us on our toes. Together she makes not only a one of a kind Home Daycare Provider, but she also makes a pretty incredible person to have on your side. I know this, her family knows this, her friends know this, and her daycare clients rave about this! I hope you enjoy reading Elizabeth's thoughts and reflections in this post.
Thank you for reading!
My Why: why I opened a home daycare & why I licensed with Little Lambs
Written by: Elizabeth Boomhouwer (Dizzy's Home Daycare)
For as long back as I can recall (even as a young girl), my dream job was working with young children. Although I had a few other jobs along the way, I was never really happy or fulfilled in those positions. They didn't feel like careers I wanted to pursue. In 2011 I had my first son; I was rounding the end of my maternity leave, not wanting to return to my former job as it would require me to find childcare outside the “normal” hours. This schedule would mean I would not be home every night to snuggle my son, kiss him good night and put him to bed.
This alone was causing me so much anxiety. My husband rarely gave our son his nighttime bottle nor his bedtime struggles. THIS was my time with him, a time that I cherished and looked forward too. I could not imagine missing these moments and being okay with my childcare provider doing this very precious task. I also knew finding childcare outside of normal business hours was going to be hard. To make things more difficult, we did not have family locally that we could rely on to help us "fill in the gaps" of our daycare needs. It was at this point with a little push from a friend, I made the decision to open my own daycare. (This choice benefited my friend too. Her baby was only one month older than mine, and she was just starting her daycare search… Some things are just meant to be. ;)
July 2012 I officially opened as a Private (unlicensed) home daycare, with the intention to only operate until my children went off to school. I am now a mom of 2 boys who are in grades 6 and 4, and I am still operating my daycare! It turns out I left my job and found my career.
Once the youngest went to school, I looked at my husband and asked;
Of course, the answer to all these questions was me. This wasn't because my husband didn't want to help or support with these parenting responsibilities. He's an amazing dad, and a great asset to the daycare when he happens to be home during daycare hours. We (my husband, myself, and my husbands employer…) had just gotten so used to "my" being home and available that changing our routine didn't feel right. Being a home childcare provider allows me the flexibility to be available when my own children need me. It allows me to attend special events at schools that run during the day such as their Christmas Concert or being present at Church when my son was performing in the school choir. My boys love seeing me in the audience, and I love seeing them love me being present. Funny enough my boys might actually like seeing my daycare crew, present and accounted for, at these special events and performances more than seeing me *insert awkward mom laugh*. Beyond just being home for my children and having a passion for the early years, I have seen the impact this career choice has had on my boys. I attribute a lot of the kindness, empathy, quiet leadership, and responsibility they show to their experiences of growing up in a home daycare.
So, that's my "why" for opening my daycare and sticking with it. It's much the same as many other stories I've heard from other child care providers. With the busyness of life, the responsibilities of parenting, the love of working with children, and the convenience of blending it all together, home daycare just makes sense.
My "why" for licensing is a different story and took me well beyond my comfort level. I ran a private home daycare from July 2012 Until April 2018 when I licensed with Little Lambs. I had inquired about licensing when I first opened my doors, but there weren't many options in the area at the time. I knew the benefits of being a licensed home childcare program. Despite the benefits, I wasn't going to put in the sweat equity to open my own business so someone else could run it and have the majority of the control. During my initial inquiries (with licensed agencies operating in 2012) my experience from the information relayed at the time, felt like I would lose control of my business. Control of not "everything" but the big things that mattered to me.
Late 2017 I started hearing about this new Agency that allows you to remain a private provider but gives you all the benefits of being part of a licensed agency! This sparked my interest for so many reasons but mostly since I had one family in care that would financially benefit if I was licensed with an agency and therefore able to offer them subsidized childcare. Early 2018 I started seeing more about this new agency. I then started talking to a provider from this agency, I can remember saying to her on more than one occasion "this sound too good to be true." It was not long before she had me convinced to fill out the application and meet with the Director of Little Lambs.
Kristina came to my home one evening to review my application, my home, answer my questions, and provide more personalized information about licensing with her agency. She left without me committing to license…. I was still “on the fence.” My inner voice saying, "Control"…and…."too good to be true" ringing loud in my ears. I had heard all the things I wanted to hear such as (but not limited to):
So I slept on it, and called Kristina the very next morning. It only took me until that next morning to decide to license, and I have been grateful I did ever since. It has been the best business decision I have made to date. It has allowed my family to no longer have a rental unit within our home! Instead we have turned the self-contained apartment into the daycare providing much needed home/work separation. It has allowed me to be available for my own children in their times of need.
I love that as the agency grows Kristina takes in the data, provider and parent feedback and evolves the agency with her team to plan for current and future wants/needs. Evolving to remain current in an ever-changing field.
I love that the agency will provide “Back up” care if I need to run to an appointment in the middle of the day vs closing for the day or closing early. They will come to my daycare as supply staff! I'm not talking about back up care where my daycare children use an alternate daycare during the day (although that's an option for full-day closures where space permits).
I love that as a "self-employed, Independent Contractor" I can pay into group health benefits through the agency!
I love that I have built lasting and meaningful friendships with other providers within the agency.
I love that I can help families who require financial assistance when it comes to paying for childcare.
I love that I am still an independent, respected businesswomen doing things “my way.”
I found my career, my why's are just how I got here.
Early Years at Home
When we refer to home we refer to a feeling of welcome, family, comfort and belonging. Licensed home child care offers the feeling of "home" with the benefits of early years pedagogy.
©Little Lambs Home Daycare